On New Year's Eve, when I woke up in the morning, I rolled over, looked at Jeff, and said, "This is the day they found him." Then I burst into tears and sobbed for several minutes. It was the first time I had cried about Dad since October 2010. It felt good.
Last night, as I was watching some how-to-knit videos on my new favorite website, knittinghelp.com, the voice of the instructor was so soothing and gentle that I started crying again, and then I just couldn't stop. I cried for over three hours and went through so many tissues that even the boys were grossed out by the amount of snot produced.
But despite their aversion to my streaming eyes and nose, they were very compassionate. They did a group hug, they kept patting me on the shoulder, and they brought out their very best jokes to help cheer me up.
As I tucked them into bed with my red-rimmed eyes and sniffly nose, James asked tentatively, "So... are ya always gonna, ya know, burst out like this on New Year's?"
My first thought was that I don't know. I didn't expect to "burst out like this" in the first place this year, so clearly I have no idea what each New Year's will be like.
But then God brought to mind my new sister, Kelly, who lost her mom years and years ago. Kelly is still very sad about her mom and she always will be, but she also has the most spontaneous, bubbly, contagious laugh I've ever heard, and she is full of life.
And then God brought to mind heaven, where He promises there will be no more tears.
And I found my anchor.
"No," I told James confidently, "I won't always burst out like this."
James's shoulders relaxed. Moms just aren't supposed to produce that much snot.
As I kissed the boys goodnight and closed their door, a fresh round of tears began. But this time, they weren't just tears of sorrow and loss. Mixed in with those, I distinctly detected tears of hope.
"We have this hope," I quoted to myself, "as an anchor for the soul..."
My mom said to me earlier this week, "You don't go through grief. Grief goes through you."
She's right. Grief just happens. It just comes, and there's nothing to be done about it. We can't help it. We can't make it stop. We can't make it go away. It just is. And it is relentless.
But this relentless grief is coupled with relentless hope. And it's not a hope that I produce. It's hope from God. He who promises there will be no tears in heaven is a God who keeps His promises. And He keeps His promises so that we who have fled to Him for refuge "might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:18b-20).
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
~Priscilla Jane Owens, 1829-1907
Jesus, the forerunner, in whose love I am grounded firm and deep, is the one who fastened me to the Rock which cannot move. "In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil," said Edward Mote in 1834.
Yes. Grief goes through me. But so does hope.